DeLaval AMR milking rotary

30 August 2011 | Int. Livestockhousing Guide |

The DeLaval AMR™ will suit herds exceeding 300 cows, the first commercial rotaries will have a 90 cow/hour capacity, and up to five robots will simultaneously operate the system, DeLaval announced today.

“Dairy farmers have been asking for an automatic milking rotary for a long time. We developed the DeLaval AMR™ with three key customer benefits in mind; profitability, farm management and flexibility,” DeLaval Vice President Capital Goods, Andrew Turner said.

The system will be operated by two robots for teat preparation and another two robots for milking cup attachment. Thus, 4 robots will work on 4 cows at the same time. Additionally, a 5th robot will handle teat disinfection after milking has finished. This function is fully automatic and sprays each teat independently using a state of the art time of flight camera that sees the teats and locates them in real time in 3D.

The first commercial rotaries will have up to 90 cow/hour capacity, depending on the number of robots installed. Flexibility has been a key criteria in the design of the system. This capacity can be utilized in different ways to accommodate various farm management approaches. For example, the system can milk a herd of 540 cows three times per day or 800 cows twice per day or anything in between.

“A customer can also start on a smaller scale with one robot for teat preparation and one robot for milking cup attachment and achieve 50 cows per hour,” Turner explained.

Cows access the system in the same way as they do in a traditional rotary. Once on the platform the cow is taken to the teat preparation position. The entrance gate includes electronic ID so the cow’s teat positions are pre-stored for the robots to use and the camera to locate. Teats are washed, stimulated, dried and prepared just like in the DeLaval voluntary milking system VMS. The next step is the teat cup attachment and after that the cow moves on until the exit bail position where a last robot sprays her before she is released.

“Platform size will depend on a number of factors including milk out time and yield. These factors combined will maximize the efficiency of the system. It is possible to investigate if the DeLaval AMR™ can be retrofitted to an existing herringbone platform but each installation would need to be evaluated independently,” he added.

The DeLaval AMR™ performs individual quarter milking so flow rates, total yield, blood and conductivity are all measured for each quarter as in the DeLaval voluntary milking system VMS. In order to ensure top hygienic conditions during milking, the system comes with an automatic deck flush module. It consists of a scraper blade and water jets. As with traditional rotary milking and VMS, the AMR™ is able to milk all breeds of cows.

According to DeLaval, with their new automatic milking rotary on-farm profitability will be boosted because the system will allow farmers to reduce milking labour or shift those workers to perform more stimulating tasks. Also because they will have lower milk harvesting costs and will get more milk per hour and of a better quality. Farm management will be enhanced by making farms more attractive for employees, giving farmers more time to drive their business and allowing them to focus more on animal welfare aspects. As for the third key customer benefit the company highlights, flexibility, the DeLaval AMR™ will suit all types of farming operations, allow for a modular approach to functionality and for scalability to expand as business grows.

The DeLaval AMR™ has been awarded the EuroTier 2010 Gold Medal for innovation.

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